Eli Lilly and Company has announced that it will be extending its existing patient assistance program, LillyAnswers, through the end of this year to qualifying patients currently participating in the program, to help bridge the gap in coverage for people who need Lilly medicines, but are not yet enrolled in Medicare Part D.
The company also is asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for an opinion on the company's proposal for an "Outside Part D" patient assistance program, called LillyMedicareAnswers, which would extend assistance beyond the end of this year to Medicare patients for two drugs, Forteo and Zyprexa. A favorable opinion from the OIG would allow Lilly to continue providing Forteo (teriparatide [rDNA origin] injection), a treatment for osteoporosis, and Zyprexa (olanzapine, Lilly), a treatment for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
For patients that qualify, bridge benefits will be available for current LillyAnswers patients who are enrolled in Medicare Part D and prescribed either Forteo or Zyprexa until the OIG responds to the request for the new "Outside Part D" program or until such other date as Lilly may determine.
The OIG is providing guidance to pharmaceutical companies on the legal implications of offering assistance to Medicare Part D enrollees as the government continues implementation of the sweeping federal program for prescription drug benefits. Lilly has been helping educate patients and physicians on the new program.
Sidney Taurel, chairman and chief executive officer of Eli Lilly and Company, announced details of Lilly's Medicare patient assistance efforts at today's Kaiser Family Foundation's Kaiser Conversation on Health in Washington, DC.
"Our country's Medicare system has been strengthened and improved through the integration of a prescription drug benefit that provides affordable access to innovative medicines that help patients lead longer, healthier, and more productive lives," said Taurel.
"The actions Lilly is taking today will help to ensure the smooth implementation of the Medicare drug benefit, while helping seniors who are experiencing gaps in coverage or who have yet to select a drug coverage plan," said Taurel. "These actions also will help a subset of Lilly patients who require special attention and assistance maintaining continuity of care."
The company will provide materials to help educate patients on enrolling during the 2007 Part D enrollment period. Taurel noted that the company already has distributed educational materials to thousands of physicians and healthcare providers over the past year about the drug benefit, in addition to helping educate seniors and disabled beneficiaries on plan enrollment.